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The ‘Decider’


(guest blog by Taylor Marsh)

Well, Scott McClellan is gone, resigned.  It was just flashed across MSNBC.  I guess the decider doesn’t make all decisions.  But, hey, you can’t win ’em all.  Besides, we all felt this one coming.  It was either that or get fired, right?  Leaving on your own terms is always a better route. 

But let’s back up.  The "decider"? Who taught this guy to speak? I know, I know, I should be used to it by now, but I’m just not. Neither are Joe Gandelman, Digby and Atrios, the source for today’s picture, and a host of others, who covered the story.

Crooks and Liars has the video if you missed Bush’s latest beauty.

"I hear the voices, and I read the front page, and I know the speculation. But I’m the decider, and I decide what is best. And what’s best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense." – President George W. Bush

The decider hears "the voices."  Why does that not surprise me?  Unfortunately, it’s not the type of voices anyone should be listening to.

But if Bush is the "decider," he is also something else: the one responsible. Now that he’s put no distance whatsoever between himself and Donald Rumsfeld we know one thing for sure. Everything that has happened, every plan that’s gone awry and every decision has been backed by the "decider." Whatever the Iraq war was a couple of days ago to the American people, today it belongs to Bush. Of course, we’ve always known it. But there was also a feeling someone else was pulling the strings, Deadeye, DoD, whomever. Now we know that only Bush is in charge. He is the decider. No wonder he’s going down.

One wonders, if Karl Rove was really on his game and Fitz wasn’t giving Bush’s brain fits, if the Rovester would have allowed Bush to come out and back Rummy so nakedly, on Good Friday, without a thought. Oh, right, Bush is the decider. On the other hand, if Bush can’t save Rummy, he can’t save himself either. They’re tied together as one.

But it’s Maureen Dowd, who never misses an opportunity to take an opportunity to stereotype Democrats, who on this day at least, does the decider and his DoD man in.

From behind the infernal wall of pay, I bring you an excerpt of Ms. Dowd today:

Asked why he twice offered to resign during the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal but has not this time, Rummy smiled and replied, "Oh, just call it idiosyncratic."

Idiosyncratic, indeed, with Iraq in chaos, the military riven and depleted, the president poleaxed, the Republican fortunes for the midterm elections dwindling, and Republican lawmakers like Chuck Hagel questioning Rummy’s leadership and Democratic ones like Dick Durbin proposing a no-confidence vote in the Senate.

The secretary made it sound as if the generals want him to resign because he made reforms. But they really want him to resign because he made gigantic, horrible, arrogant mistakes that will be taught in history classes forever.

He suggested invading Iraq the day after 9/11. He didn’t want to invade Iraq because it was connected to 9/11. That was the part his neocon aides at the Pentagon, Wolfie and Doug Feith, had to concoct. Rummy wanted to invade Iraq because he thought it would be easy, compared with Iran or North Korea, or compared with finding Osama. He could do it cheap and show off his vaunted transformation of the military into a sleek, lean fighting force.

Cloistered in a macho monastery with "The Decider" (as W. calls himself), Dick Cheney and Condi Rice, Rummy didn’t want to hear dissent, or worries about Iraq, the tribes, the sects, the likelihood of insurgency or civil war, the need for more troops and armor to quell postwar eruptions.

"He didn’t worry about the culture in Iraq," said Bernard Trainor, the retired Marine general who is my former colleague and the co-author of "Cobra II." "He just wanted to show them the front end of an M-1 tank. He could have been in Antarctica fighting penguins. He didn’t care, as long as he could send the message that you don’t mess with Hopalong Cassidy. He wanted to do to Saddam in the Middle East what he did to Shinseki in the Pentagon, make him an example, say, ‘I’m in charge, don’t mess with me.’ "

The stoic Gen. Eric Shinseki finally spoke to Newsweek, conceding he had seen a former classmate wearing a cap emblazoned with "RIC WAS RIGHT" at West Point last fall. He said only that the Pentagon had "a lot of turmoil" before the invasion.

Just as with Vietnam, when L.B.J. and Robert McNamara were running the war, or later, when Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger took over, we now have leaders obsessed with not seeming weak, or losing face. Their egos are feeding their delusions.

The Decider Sticks With the Derider, by Maureen Dowd

The generals put a finer point on Rumsfeld needing to resign, leading Democrats and the American people back to where it all began, back to the discussion of getting out of Iraq.

Jack Murtha was right. He was talking to the generals and they were telling him how they felt about Rumsfeld, but also about Iraq. We’ve known it for months. The 37-year Marine Democratic war veteran was right all along. Hey, but why listen to the military man who has heard it straight from the generals? It’s Bush who is the decider.

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Taylor Marsh

Taylor Marsh

Taylor is a political commentator and radio personality who has been interviewed by C-SPAN's Washington Journal and all across TV and right-wing radio. She's been on the web for 10 years, going to blogging in late 2005. Taylor is affiliated with The Patriot Project, writes for Huffington Post, as well as Alternet. Her radio show debuted in 2002, which she now brings to her blog Mon-Thur, 6:00 p.m. Eastern or 3:00 p.m. Pacific. One of her passions is painting and creating political art. The graphic at the top of her blog is taken from the expressionist flag art that hangs in her home. She was born in Missouri, and has lived in New York City, Los Angeles and Las Vegas and some points in between.